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Have you ever bought a new novel, ripped out the chapters, reordered them, and then tried to read the novel as a story? Could you imagine the frustration? Such an approach makes no sense with a novel, but we have adopted this very method when we study the Bible. It is no surprise, then, that many become discouraged when reading the Bible.
What if there was a different way to read Scripture—a way that brought order and understanding?
What if you could know the storyline of the Bible and see it as one story?
Understanding the chronological story of the Scriptures reveals God’s nature, character, and ways. Knowing the big Story of the Bible helps us know God as He has revealed Himself through Scripture so that we might live with hope as we take our place in the Story.
Romans 15:4 tells us,
“For whatever was written in the former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
When we desire to know God through His Story, we find hope in our confusing world. The truth contained in this verse is demonstrated in Luke 24. On the day Jesus rose from the dead, he joined two travelers on the walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus, but the two did not know it was Jesus. During the two-and-a-half hour walk, Jesus asked them why they were so perplexed. They were astonished that he did not know what had taken place over the last three days and began to explain:
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place” (Luke 24:19-21).
The men went on to say they could not find his body and now were left confused and hopeless about the events that had taken place. Jesus, however, clarified their thinking, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). Jesus gave an Old Testament lesson on the prophecies regarding his death and resurrection beginning with Moses, the author of Genesis through Deuteronomy, and continuing with the Prophets. Jesus told the story! Knowing the stories breathed hope into a seemingly hopeless situation, causing their hearts to burn within (v.32) and gradually opening their spiritual eyes as Jesus revealed himself.
Their looks of consternation were replaced with looks of joy as they quickly returned to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen” (v34). Their joy came from the revelation of the risen Jesus as they realized their hope in Him had not been misplaced. When they took the focus off of themselves and put it back in its proper place with Jesus, hope bloomed once again.
Don’t we often find ourselves on the same journey? The Scriptures cause our hearts to burn within us for something more than the world has to offer. Jesus opens our eyes to recognize Him in the midst of our circumstances so that our minds can be opened to understand the Scriptures. Hope comes from knowing God as He has revealed himself through the story of Scripture, because God will be who He promises to be and do what He promises to do.
How do I begin to know God’s Story for myself?
Knowing God’s story of the Bible is not a six-week process, and there is no pill to make it easy. Knowing the story takes time and intentionality on the part of the learner. The best way to begin is by reading through the Bible chronologically in the order of events as they happen. There are many ways to do this.
The easiest is to purchase Tyndale’s The ONE YEAR® Chronological Bible and make a commitment to read it through. Companion material is available to help readers become more engaged and informed. Go to www.chronologicalbibleteaching.com to sign up for the daily chronological reading blog.
You may also download The ONE YEAR® reading plan (http://www.oneyearbibleonline.com) and follow the chronology using your own personal Bible.
There is not one right way to read through the Bible—the point is to do it! If you desire to know God and live out of hope with purpose then go to the one place where God has revealed Himself to us—the Bible!
Chronological Bible Teaching Ministries will assist you through the journey.
Chronological Bible Teaching Ministries is committed to equipping and encouraging everyday people with sufficient resources so that they might know, understand, and tell God’s story for themselves. Knowing God’s story takes time, hard work and intentionality but the reward is “bearing good fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God” (Col 1:10).